For the last week and a half I have been on a rip-roaring quest to figure out how best to feed my family. Me. A self-confessed couch potato with an ungodly love for salt and vinegar chips, and someone who, at times, looked down their nose at “mommy bloggers” (I’m not a mommy but it just seems like something they blog about).
How did this happen? What am I smoking???
I guess you could say it stemmed from my innate selfishness of not wanting to care for needy children someday, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was finding out I had 2 little cavities.
Okay, let me explain. Mr. Blood Stripe and I have been talking about having kids someday in the future. “Not now, dammit!” I told him. “I’m too selfish to be a mom! I love sleeping in! I love wine nights! I hate bratty kids! The woman gets stuck with all the work! Babies are ugly!” etc., etc. Although I have yet to feel a screaming desire to be a mom, I knew going into the marriage that he wanted children relatively early. “Well, we can just wait until your ready,” he offered.
I thought about it for sometime and realized that, left up to me “waiting to be ready” was probably never going to happen. I was going to end up someday like Carrie from Sex in the City in her relationship with Aleksandr Petrovsky. “Well what if I want to have a child?” she asked him, when she found out he didn’t want kids. Give me a break, sister! You’re 35+, that ship has sailed! You made your choice through your indecision; you don’t want kids.
Basically, I didn’t want to end up deluding myself that I could “have it all”. I don’t believe modern women can live any way we want with our drinking, smoking, late night, workaholic lifestyle, and then decide to have kids in our late 30’s and early 40’s. I don’t believe for myself and most people it’s ethically responsible for invasive fertility treatments, either. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, I think.
As I started to poke around the issue, it seemed to me that my risk of having a complicated pregnancy increased around 30 and dramatically increased at 35. And since I probably would never “be ready” until nearly 40–let’s just be real–well now we’re talking having a first kid after 35. Given the fact that I knew children were going to be entered into our family equation at some point, I was faced with two questions. Do I want to play now and suffer tremendously later with decreasing fertility, possible high risk pregnancy, a sickly child, higher medical bills, etc., or give up my freedom now, have a marginally easier/safer pregnancy, and resume my freedom sooner?
Something to note; I am a worst case scenario type of person about certain things. Yes, I know that there are women who have a first child after 35 and are breezy, but everything I’ve read indicates that is becoming less common (anecdotally too I know of couples in that age range having issues). Also given that my own mother had lots of reproductive issues (and yes her first child–me–was born past the age of 30), I figure better safe than sorry.
So then, logically speaking, wouldn’t it make the most sense to have children sooner? Because the reality is if I wait until my magical motherly feelings start brimming over and I’m just begging for a baby in my belly–it just ain’t gonna happen. And I don’t think it’s fair for me to increase the risk of the child’s health because I wanted more play time, and ultimately a sicklier child means more work for me. It makes more sense for the decision making factor to be the time of optimal biological health of the mother, which for me would be anytime in the next 4 years.
Once I was done huffing and puffing and kicking random things about the fact that I really have to be a mother sooner, I calmed down. Okay, if this is how it has to be, what can I do to make it the best pregnancy and delivery possible? I began researching various contraceptive methods because I felt that there had to be a better way than what we were doing, and I needed a firm grip on that area before an unexpected NO VACANCY sign popped up in my uterus. I needed to assure myself that we were not having kids until I had enough facts and information about what I was doing.
That led me to the Fertility Awareness Method and wow. Wow, wow, WOW! I read through thread after thread on the message board talking about how it’s helped women both conceive and prevent pregnancy. I think I tried to read just about every review for the book on Amazon as well. A 5-star rating with over 1k reviews. Are you kidding me?? I bought the book and devoured it. The entire thing made so much sense. Two things stood out to me the most.
1. No matter if we are trying to conceive or avoid, every woman should know how their body works and what is normal for them. From first menstruation to menopause, there is every good reason to figure out what is going on with yourself to catch diseases before they progress, and to communicate more effectively with medical professionals. Modern American women are so ignorant and uneducated about basic physical signs (I am including myself here), it’s appalling!
2. Of course the reason people don’t talk about it more is there’s no big money to be made from it! Like the reason why vegetables are cheaper than supplements and “nutrition bars”. You can’t really corner the market on it because it’s so simple. However it does require patience and discipline in addition to a fairly regular lifestyle. Another thing modern women lack!
Although I didn’t put FAM into practice immediately because we were travelling so much over the holidays (Hawaii–yes poor me :D), there it was, percolating in the back of my brain. Speaking of FAM, I’m up far too late (need that regular sleep!) so let’s continue tomorrow with the other half.